The evergreen-themed drink was only released at select Reserve stores last year.
Credit: Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks is known for it’s seasonal, sweet, and over-the-top holiday beverages. But this year the coffee chain is taking a cue from nature and the scents of the season for its latest nationwide offering. The Juniper Latte first hit select Starbucks Reserve stores last winter, and the made a coast-to-coast appearance on menus in Canada this year. Now, anybody in the States with a Starbucks nearby will have the opportunity to try this herbaceous and piney drink that combines and evergreens and espresso right in your cup.

While juniper is one of those flavors that can quickly become overwhelming, Starbucks latte syrup combines it with sage to pull in botanical notes resembling a wintery gin cocktail. Paired the Starbucks espresso and milk, the bite of the juniper is mellowed into a smooth, sippable latte that’ll conjure up mental images of snow-covered boughs, even if it’s not quite a winter wonderland wherever you are. In a slight twist from last year’s offering, the latte is topped with a crescent of citrus and juniper sugar (as opposed to just juniper sugar and an additional mandarin note in the syrup last year). The more sparsely doled out topping is enough to cut through the richness of the juniper and milk without adding a cloying sweetness.

Paired with nonfat milk, a tall (12 oz) version of the drink comes in at a reasonable 150 calories, and 0g sat fat. But it has an unreasonably high 28g of added sugar (That's seven teaspoons in one small drink). So it should probably be an occasional treat, at most, if you choose to indulge. 

The Juniper Latte does pair well with the holly design on this year's holiday-themed cups (but I’m sure it’s just as good in any of the other three options). The Juniper Latte is available at participating Starbucks locations nationwide starting today and will be offered for a limited time.

Beyond the wider rollout of this Christmassy latte, Starbucks has another gift for fans of the chain: The return of the Starbucks For Life game in its eponymous app, which, as it sounds, gives customers the opportunity to collect tokens that could lead a lifetime of free Starbucks drinks. And on Saturday, December 1 Starbucks will honor World AIDS Day by donating 20 cents of every latte purchased to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS with (RED).